Christian Presidents: 10 Leaders Known for Their Faith

by Pamela Rose Williams on October 10, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

The United States of America is founded on Christian principles. Some might argue this, however our history is well documented to include the fact that the founding fathers believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the foundation of our freedom and the model for our constitutional republic [1]. As another matter of fact, many of our founding fathers were also elected to the office of the President of this great Nation. Let’s take a look at just 10 of those Christian Presidents known for their faith.

George Washington 

Best known as the first President of the United States, George Washington has a well documented life as an adult but not much has been written about his childhood. His Christian heritage is documented in The Writings of George Washington that was compiled and published in 1830 by Jared Sparks, a well respected writer and historian [2]. Washington continually acknowledges the Hand of Providence and the Divine as the One in whom he owed thanksgiving for battles won and for this great nation.  His inaugural addresses were laced with proof of his heritage. One of his most famous acknowledgements came at the end of the Revolutionary War. In his letter to the States on June 8, 1783 he is quoted as saying:

“…the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.” [3]

John Adams

John Adams was schooled at Harvard and was a lawyer. John Adams is responsible for urging the United States to take a lead in the development of the arts and sciences through the establishment of a national university, the financing of scientific expeditions, and the erection of an observatory. His critics declared such measures transcended constitutional limitations.[a] John Adams is another man that never hid his Christian faith. He was actually the first President, in a letter to his wife, to ask a blessing on the White House – not only for himself, but for all who followed him as well, here is what he wrote:

“Before I end my letter, I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.”

To support the claim that our nation was founded on Christian principles, read what he wrote here:

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”[4]

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson’s passion was for liberty. He was not a gifted speaker but was an excellent writer. He won the presidency on a tie through a flaw in the Constitution.  During his office he was attributed with slashing the national debt by 1/3.

In the book “Silenced in the Schoolhouse: How Biblical illiteracy in our schools is destroying America” Dr. Michael Williams says this about Thomas Jefferson’s faith:

“Probably no other founding father’s faith has been argued about more extensively than that of Thomas Jefferson. Numerous web sites, mostly run by non-Christians that do not believe there is any place in public for religion, can be found that claim Jefferson was not a Christian. The question that begs to be asked is how can a non-Christian be an authority of what is a ‘real Christian?’” He goes on to say “… Jefferson’s theology was not in keeping with what many would consider fundamental Christianity, but it was not Christianity in general that he was against, it was the corruption of Christianity by those professing to be Christians.” [1]

During his presidency Jefferson frequently negotiated with Indian tribes and he even created a little book called Philosophy of Jesus that was made up of cut and pasted Bible verses that he used as a primer to teach the Indians about Jesus. He even believed that Christian missionaries to the Indians was so important that he provided the missionaries at government expense [7]. That little book is called the Jefferson Bible by revisionist historians.

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams is recorded in history as the first son of a President (John Adams). His presidency was said to have been much like that of his father’s. He was also a Harvard graduate and a lawyer. John Quincy Adams is the first to propose national highways and canals.

His Christian heritage is also well documented and two of his great quotes include:

“My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ and I cannot cavil or quibble away [evade or object to]. . . . the whole tenor of His conduct by which He sometimes positively asserted and at others countenances [permits] His disciples in asserting that He was God.” [5]

“In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” [6]

Abraham Lincoln

“Yes, I do love Jesus”

President Lincoln is best known for his stance on the abolition of slavery. He was not a well educated man, but was willing to learn anything that he needed to be a great leader. He led the United States of America through one of the most dramatic changes in American history. Most biographers would say that Abraham Lincoln was not a Christian, but I learned that he became a Christian later in life. I did some research and found this as his testimony when he was asked if he loves Jesus by an Illinois Pastor whom was well known and trusted by Mr. Lincoln, he replied:

“When I left Springfield I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. Yes, I do love Jesus.” [8]

Grover Cleveland

President Cleveland is the only man to serve one full term as President and return as President four years later. He was the first democrat elected to the presidency after the Civil War. Mr. Cleveland was the son of a preacher and he is best known as a great leader due to his single-mindedness.

Here is a great quote from President Cleveland:

“I know there is a Supreme Being who rules the affairs of men and whose goodness and mercy have always followed the American people, and I know He will not turn from us now if we humbly and reverently seek His powerful aid.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower was the president who pushed to have the “under God” added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. He also adoped “In God We Trust” as the USA Motto in 1957. He was instrumental as paper currency was introduced in 1957. He wrote a prayer for his first inauguration and always started his Cabinet meetings with a silent prayer. He welcomed many religious leaders to the White House while he was in office.[9]

President Eisenhower once said:

“Before all else, we seek, upon our common labor as a nation, the blessings of Almighty God.”

Ronald Reagan

President Reagan was well known for his stance in opposition to big government. He reformed the income tax code in 1986 allowing lower income people to avoid exorbitant taxes. He held two terms in office and at the end of his administration the USA recorded the longest time of peace and prosperity never having any period of recession or depression. We also saw the end of the cold war and the fall of the Berlin wall under President Reagan. Mr. Reagan often talked about God and one of my favorite quotes by him is:

“I believe with all my heart that standing up for America means standing up for the God who has so blessed our land. We need God’s help to guide our nation through stormy seas. But we can’t expect Him to protect America in a crisis if we just leave Him over on the shelf in our day-to-day living.”

George H. W. Bush

President Bush (sometimes called “George the elder”) came from a political family. He had a heart to see America become a “kinder and gentler nation”. President Bush’s test of leadership came when Iraq invaded Kuwait in what we now know as the battle of Dessert Storm. He worked with the United Nations, the citizens of the USA and Congress to send hundreds of thousands of troops to fight to stop President Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi troops from advancing. He regularly prayed in all areas of his life, including the White House. He is quoted as saying:

“I do not mistrust the future; I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And if our flaws are endless, God’s love is truly boundless.”

George W. Bush

President George W. Bush sadly became a wartime President when the USA suffered a carefully planned terrorist attack in three simultaneous areas on September 11, 2001. President Bush’s response to this attack was to form the Department of Homeland Security on his Cabinet. In addition, he sent American troops to Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban. He promised to help the people of Iraq form a democratic system of government to bring hope to that people and lift the threat of continued war for generations to come. President Bush was bold in his faith and he is quoted as saying:

“As we continue to fight against terror, we ask the Almighty to protect all those who battle for freedom throughout the world and our brave men and women in uniform, and we ask Him to shield innocents from harm. We recognize the sacrifice of our military families and ask God to grant them peace and strength. We will not forget the men and women who have fallen in service to America and to the cause of freedom. We pray that their loved ones will receive God’s comfort and grace.”

As stated earlier, some might argue regarding the Christian foundation of the United States of America, but upon careful study of our true American History, you will find that the principles established as our constitutional republic are based upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what makes our Nation unlike any other. This is what has preserved all religious freedom for more than 200 years. It is the Christian principles in our founding documents that have allowed other religions to be established and supported in this great country. This is called the blessings of liberty. Just as every Christian should read and study the Bible to show themselves approved, every US citizen should read and study our American History and get to know what the founding documents say so that they are not led astray by people who want to revise our history.

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” [10]

Sources:

[a] www . whitehouse .gov

[b] www . biography . com

[c] www . wallbuilders . com

[1] Williams, Michael L., Silenced in the Schoolhouse: How Biblical illiteracy in our schools is destroying America” (Michael L. Williams, Wisdom4Today, Publisher, 2008)

[2] George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, Publisher, 1838), Vol. XII, pp. 399-411.

[3] George Washington’s Circular to the States, June 8, 1783, in John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, The Writings of George Washington, Vol. XXVI (Washinton: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), p. 496.

[4] Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIII, p. 292-294. In a letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813.

[5] John Adams, Works, Vol. X, p. 85, to Thomas Jefferson on December 25, 1813.

[6] John Quincy Adams, An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport at Their Request on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1837 (Newburyport: Charles Whipple, 1837), pp. 5-6.

[7] straighttalk . net

[8] Abraham Lincoln: the Christian, William J. Johnstone, 1915

[9] Pankratz, Herbert (July 2001). “A Guide to Historical Holdings in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library: Eisenhower and Religion” (PDF). United States Archives. Archived from the original on 2008-02-16.

[10] http://www . law.cornell.edu/constitution/preamble



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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter muema susa October 10, 2012 at 6:41 am

I’m realy blsd by this deep search. God bless you mightly.

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Rev.Dr. Sushil Singh October 10, 2012 at 6:41 am

Thankyou for your writings about American Christian Heritage and Christian Presidents. In this time of lots of non christian philosophy’s attack on US, we need to pray more and more for the christian values in USA. It seems, US is now part of the mission field. God save America.

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Tina October 10, 2012 at 8:28 am

Very interestd.

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Josh October 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

Great work here Pam. I really enjoyed reading through this and learned a lot.

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Jack Wellman October 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Abraham Lincoln is perhaps my favorite Pam. Well done.

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Bongani Ndwandwe October 13, 2012 at 8:46 am

I also admire Pres. A Lincoln, Christianity is believing in Jesus Christ. There people who believe who believe in God the Father but contradict themselves when they deny the deity of Christ; like some Jews do. I like this statement by him, “Yes, I do love Jesus”.

That is confession of the deity of Christ

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michael blincoe October 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm

i live in new zealand….the main news we get here is about the usa at war and occupying many countries…nothing is stated about its upholding and promoting of christian unity and values in its quest for world stability and peace even if it means a christian style jihad

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Bonnie October 13, 2012 at 10:45 am

Where is Jimmy Carter on this list? I continue to be saddened by the categories we put ourselves in as Christians–the “us against them” mentality. I doubt very much that Christ cares about our political affiliations, yet so many Christians believe one can’t be a real Christian if one isn’t a Republican. Sad. Pro-life? Absolutely. Pro ALL life. From the tiniest collection of cells in the womb, to the soldier who should know exactly what it is he’s fighting for, to the worst of criminals on death row. The Bible does actually say “Love your enemies” and “Vengeance is mine”. Why do we gloss over these Biblical truths as if they don’t really count? Aren’t these truths consistent with who Jesus IS? Jesus–the one whose light and forgiveness we are to reflect to the world? Jesus, the one who defines us?

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Karen October 15, 2012 at 2:04 am

Amen to that sister.
If all the citizens of all the countries that are so called Christians could stand up and live the word and not just quote it – oh what lights we will shine in the world.

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Pamela Rose Williams October 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I agree with you Karen

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Pamela Rose Williams October 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Hello Bonnie -

So sorry I did not list all of your favorites. And look at the list again — I do not hold to any “us against them” mentality. I do wish you could explain why you felt it was necessary to say what you said because quite frankly the rest of your comment I think it does not apply to this article at all.

Thanks for stopping by WCWTK

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Big Joe October 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Jimmy Carter?? You are kidding right? The man who came into office after claiming to being a good born again Baptist, but then immediately sold out his “beliefs” to the likes of the Council of Foreign Relations, Socialist International, and a host of other anti-Christ organizations? This is a man who argued that because Jesus never spoke against gay marriage and abortion, that made it Biblical. This is a man who essentially claimed Paul didn’t fully understand homosexuality, so his comments against it were ill informed. Geez, maybe Paul didn’t understand, but the Holy Spirit who told him what to write did. Or how about his antiIsrael jealotry, which God said he would curse if anyone held that position. When I think of Jimmy Carter, his Christian faith is not what come to mind. Even now he is involved in rewriting the Bible to be more politically correct. [hyperlink removed] I think Mrs Williams did a good job and to criticise her for someone she did NOT mention and question her motives is a bit unChristlike.

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James October 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

What makes America unique amongst other Christian nations? I live in Canada and we should also be included as a Christian nation. It’s not about being unique as you state but about loving God and excepting Christ as your saviour. It’s not a competition as everything seems to be in the states.

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Liz October 15, 2012 at 5:49 am

President Obama is a professing Chrisitan, and has a loving family.

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Pamela Rose Williams October 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Hi Liz, I see no evidence of President Obama’s Christianity.

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Cynthia October 19, 2012 at 12:36 am

Is it your place to determine who is or isn’t a Christian? In President Obama I see a loving church going family man as I saw with Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. Their individual sins are between them and God. Is it really our place to decide who is “really” a Christian?

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Pamela Rose Williams October 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Hello Cynthia, thank you for leaving your comment here. Our Christianity is between us and God. However true Christians bear fruit and their Christianity can be seen clearly by others (Matt 3:7-9; Mat 7:16-23). Since I am the author of this article I take full responsibility for what I have shared here. The article was written based upon extensive research. These are my top 10 choices. I hold to my previous statement that I see no evidence of President Obama’s Christianity, therefore he did not make my list. I will step even farther to say that when we read about President Obama in the history books he will not be listed as being known as one of our Christian presidents. I provide the following Scriptures that I encourage you to study as well 1Cor 15:1-4, Rom 10:8-13, 1John 2:24, 2Cor 11:3-4, Gal 1:9, Heb 2:1, Heb 10:23, Rom 8:14-16,23; Rom 8:9,15-16; 2Tim 2:19-21; Jas 2:17b-24; Col 1:10-11b; Gal 5:22-23; John 13:35; John 15:4-5,8,16; and 2Pet 1:10-12

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Chevelle February 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I really love that you went back to Scripture in your response. I think many Christians forget that and take what they see on the outside (more like the what the media tells them) as their truth. They forget to take what they see and a persons actions and put it to the test with the Scriptures. There is a quote that the Devil is a better theologian but still a devil. Evil can be clothed in white just as well as Good. Discernment is quickly becoming a forgotten practice with people who claim to be Christian.

Eugene October 15, 2012 at 7:17 am

God has so much blessed the US as a fore-front nation in the world. Is America a Christian nation? Definitely not. Granted, it has imbibed a lot of Christian principles, yet it has also been acting against a lot of Christian principles. See same sex marriage – sodomy, abortion – murder, discrimination, an eye for an eye – retaliation, etc. All the same, it is doing so much better than a lot of other nations.

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Pamela Rose Williams October 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Hello Eugene,

Founded on Christian principles and Christian nation are two different things — I agree. Because of our freedom to practice any religion, things that are non Christian will continue to seep in and even possible destroy our nation. This is the sad truth. But I agree out nation is better off than most.

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Robert October 15, 2012 at 11:51 am

Great article Pam,
Spot on. It is certainly a time when Christians need to be praying for our nation and its leaders. Thanks for reminding us. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Pamela Rose Williams October 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm

AMEN

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Nicholas October 18, 2012 at 4:08 am

I have heard some say Absolum may have resembled the 1st political type of person in the Bible , I see other’s comments , and realize you learn from them , or they do cause you to investigate their comments . I surely believe we need to pray for our nation more than ever . I know GOD has a plan , and it will be fulfilled , but I believe we are to make efforts all the way till the end .

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Nicholas October 18, 2012 at 4:21 am

I would like to jump back in and say , we need to pray for all nations , we need to pray for sinners , hate the sin , but love the sinner . I don’t want to offend anyone from another country , I would like to show love for all instead ! I don’t want to compete , Jesus was sent to save the world , GOD so loved the world , HE sent HIS only (UNIQUE) son to die for it , so if we believe and except this we all have the same chance a eternal life ! From a CHRISTIAN American

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Pamela Rose Williams October 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

AMEN Nicholas, thank you for your comments. Praise God for your boldness.

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Pam October 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

What a great article. Thanks for reminding us that we did have good leaders and for reminding us how bad our country is getting. God must be so sad. People around here are praying for America, may be all over the USA. This would be great to give them. This election is especially hard for a lot of reasons. The fact that they want to take IN GOD WE TRUST off of our money and we the people don’t have any say so in it. I think it’s terrible. They took any kind of religion or prayer out of schools. Our Mormons or Muslims even considered Christian???

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Jisha D. Charles October 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Hey Pam!!
Can I have your e-mail address?

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Jeston July 3, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Ms. Pam, what a great articular you wrote and I really appreciate your leadership on this subject. Leaders influence and followers are being influenced. You have sparked the minds for the reader and I thank you for your influence… I pray that God the Father will continue to bless you and your family…

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kirk gavin April 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Yes- don’t forget about James Garfield.And when he was shot he suffered horrific pain for sometime before dying
Few people remember James Garfield, he was a man of sorrows like Jesus.

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